The leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society
8 E 41st Street, 8th Floor
New York New York 10017
[email protected] 

World Down Syndrome Day 2012

Do Something Extra: Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day on March 21 in Honor of Everyone with an Extra Chromosome!

World Down Syndrome Day was established in 2006 by Down Syndrome International, with the goal of raising awareness and mobilizing support and recognition of the dignity, rights and well-being of people with Down syndrome across the world. March 21, the 21st day of the third month of the year, was chosen to symbolize the third copy of chromosome 21 present in trisomy 21, the most common form of Down syndrome. This year, World Down Syndrome Day is especially significant as it is the first time that the day will be officially observed by the United Nations.

NDSS invites you to join us, along with the global community, by raising awareness in celebration of people with Down syndrome, their abilities and achievements. Show everyone you know how great people with Down syndrome are! Here are some ways that you can get involved:

My Great Story Public Awareness Campaign

How are you celebrating this World Down Syndrome Day?

The My Great Story public awareness campaign honors the 400,000 Americans with Down syndrome by sharing inspirational stories by and about them. The collection is authored by people with Down syndrome as well as their family members, friends, colleagues, others. The stories are displayed in a beautiful online storybook. 

There are several sections in which participants can share their stories, including family, friends, education, hobbies, amongst others. There is a new section for World Down Syndrome Day stories! All are encouraged to share their plans for March 21 and let everyone know how they are celebrating!

In addition to sharing a story, there are other ways to participate in the My Great Story campaign as well. Everyone is invited to read through the collection of stories already on the site, and to comment and vote on their favorite ones. The top voted story each month wins the My Great Story of the Month Contest, and the top two voted stories are featured in the NDSS monthly e-newsletter.

Visit the My Great Story campaign site and click the submit bookmark to share your story.

View the My Great Story Celebrity PSAs starring TV Hosts Meredith Vieira and Nancy O'Dell, Actor John C. McGinley and NDSS Goodwill Ambassador and Actor Chris Burke.

3:21 NDSS Signature T-shirts

NDSS recently launched a signature line of t-shirts featuring 3:21 on the front, symbolic of the third copy of chromosome 21 in trisomy 21, and the NDSS logo on the back. The stylish shirts come in men's, women's and kids' sizes and are a great way to start a conversation about Down syndrome - especially for World Down Syndrome Day!

View a collection of our models showing off their shirts.

Times Square Video

Every year, NDSS reminds the world in a big way about the gifts that people with Down syndrome bring to their communities through a special video presentation on a jumbo screen in the heart of the Times Square in New York City. Watch the most recent Times Square Video for a look at over 200 people with Down syndrome from all over the world. Share the video with friends and family to show off the beauty and accomplishments of people with Down syndrome!

Watch the 2011 Times Square Video.

The 2012 Times Square Video contest will be open for photo submissions on May 1. We look forward to another year of receiving of great photos!


NDSS' latest video features four families, each of which has a family member with Down syndrome at a different stage of life. We invite you to join in their journeys by watching Milestones and raise awareness for all people with Down syndrome by sharing it with your family and friends. 

Watch Milestones. 

Fundraising Tips

  • Teach your children! Bring an activity to your child's classroom, youth group or sports team on or around World Down Syndrome Day that raises awareness about people with Down syndrome, and then encourage them to fundraise throughout the year to support this cause.
  • Use Facebook and/or Twitter to spread the word that March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day and encourage your friends and followers to like, share and retweet the message.
  • If you're having a birthday party, wedding or other milestone event that usually calls for gifts, raise awareness and funds for Down syndrome by inviting your guests to donate to the cause in lieu of gifts. 
  • Check out our list of community ideas and implement one or more in your area - many of these can raise both funds and awareness!
  • Have a different idea? Get creative! NDSS has been connected to wonderful individuals who have chosen to make and sell bracelets, organize a bake sales, scrapbook for the cause and implement many other great ideas! If you have an idea you'd like to work on, we'd love to hear about it! Contact NDSS at [email protected].

Social Media

  • Your friends and followers want to hear what you have to say, so blog, post or tweet a facts about Down syndrome throughout March to build anticipation for World Down Syndrome Day on March 21! Encourage likes, shares, reposts and retweets to further spread the word. Check out our Down syndrome fact of the day sheet for March.
  • Submit your story to the My Great Story campaign collection and share your unique link (this is also a great way to get votes for your story!)
  • Share our 21 facts about Down syndrome leading up to March 21!
  • If it bothers you when people use the "R word" share a link to our preferred language guide and help educate your friends and family on the proper terms to use.
  • Watch the NDSS Milestones video, which features four families that each have a family member with Down syndrome, and spread the word.
  • Follow NDSS on Facebook and Twitter for updates in anticipation of World Down Syndrome Day and throughout the year!
  • Bloggers: Raise awareness through your blog and encourage your readers to Do Something Extra in celebration of World Down Sydnrome Day with our new blogger button.

3/21 Media Placements

NDSS thanks all media outlets, national and local, that did their part in raising awareness on and around World Down Syndrome Day through their available resources. Here are a few of those that did:

AOL: You've Got

Apostrophe Magazine

Huffington Post

Lil Sugar 

Modern Parent 

NBC New York Nightly News
(This segment features Self-Advocate Diana Stolfo, who represented NDSS at UN event on 3/21 at the opening remarks.)

North Jersey: Town Journal

Omaha Morning Blend

Parents Magazine

Pregnancy and Newborn: Baby Buzz Blog

We are Central PA

  • Buddy Walk
  • NDSS Yourway
  • NDSS DS-Ambassadors